Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices threw a no-hitter in college? OK.

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The second straight day of my kids being home from school because of dangerous wind chills has me getting fairly loopy. Especially given that there’s not a ton of baseball news happening.

So I’ve been diving into Wikipedia, watching old episodes of “You Can’t Do That on Television,” listening to Atlanta Rhythm Section records and generally entering that zone where sociologists might be able to identify hermits and hoarders and other similarly afflicted people. Also: my annual depressive urge to completely drop out of society, get in my car and drive someplace where I can’t be found by anyone has hit earlier than usual. Just a weird week.

Among the positives, however, I learned that the United States Army once had a general named Charles Bonesteel who wore an eyepatch. How did I get to 40 without knowing this? How did this man not either overthrow the government with a crack squad of evil commandos or die trying? His name was GENERAL BONESTEEL AND HE WORE AN EYEPATCH for cryin’ out loud.

Something else I learned and, frankly, do not know how I hadn’t heard it before given the sorts of people I talk to on the Internet: Guided by Voices leader Robert Pollard was an excellent college pitcher for Wright State University at one time. And he threw a no-hitter. This started making the rounds among my Internet friends this morning and it’s fantastic:

source:

And here I thought “Hold on Hope” was the most beautiful thing he did.

(h/t to, like, 10 people who put this on my Facebook page today)

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.